Social Security Administration updates policy on changing gender marker


WASHINGTON — The Social Security Administration on Friday announced a new policy for changing the gender designation in Social Security records to provide transgender people improved privacy and prevent unnecessary outing to Social Security staff and healthcare providers.

Under the revised policy, transgender people will be able to change their gender on their Social Security records by submitting either government-issued documentation that reflects a change, such as an updated their passport or birth certificate, or certification from a physician that confirms that they have received clinical treatment for gender transition.

About 50 percent of transgender people report being unable to update the gender on their records due to the restrictive, surgical requirement policy that was in place until today, according to the National Transgender Discrimination Survey — a groundbreaking national study of over 6,400 people in the U.S. conducted by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality.

The SSA also issued guidelines on how staff should interact with transgender people. This includes important protections: confidentiality, proper pronoun usage, and treating transgender people with respect and dignity.

“This is a big win for LGBT equality. This crucial policy change by the Social Security Administration brings SSA procedures into alignment with other federal agencies that have made progress on equality for transgender people,” said Rea Carey, Task Force Executive Director.

“This new policy is in line with how transgender people live their lives and is in line with the medical community’s consensus on when a person’s gender should be recognized,” said Carey.

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